My journey into meditation was pretty organic as I started my mindfulness journey with yoga. Of course some classes would feature a bit of breathing at the beginning or end of class. Sometimes some 'vague' instructions I never really understood. But by and large I didn't meditate with any sense of regularity.
Let me be clear: I practiced yoga, but I didn't meditate.
Sometimes I would try to meditate, but before I knew it my mind was full of thoughts I couldn't (or didn't know how to) control and I was left feeling discouraged.
My mind was crazy, and full and I gave up.
Once I finally began a regular meditation practice (more on that later), and I had the tools to help me manage my frantic mind (still challenging most days), I started small.
I took the best advice I've been given with regards to meditation:
"Only practice for as long as you can without getting discouraged."
As some of you might know, I now live in the Rocky Mountains (Banff specifically), but grew up in Ontario. I've only recently begun to ski with any sense of regularity, and like learning anything new (like meditation), it can be challenging. When I heard this advice with regards to meditation, it immediately reminded me of the strategy I use on ski days. There is always one run near the end of the day where you're beginning to feel tired, but your mind is still pumped to be on the hill. Basically, you're mind says "one more run!" but your body says, "i'm feeling some apres coming on".
You know that if you go for one more run, it might be discouraging. You might fall. Or worse - yard sale (for those who don't live in the mountains this is when you bail and your gear goes flying - hence, YARD SALE!)
When it comes to meditating, don't force yourself to practice for 5 or 10 minutes, if you start getting discouraged at 3.
Practice for as long as you can without getting discouraged.
Best. Advice. Ever.
From there, when you're ready, you can gradually increase your time spent in meditation. But there is no rush. Stay where the practice is sweet.
If you're looking for a quick practice to fit into your day grab my free download here.